Is buying one of the latest Apple watches an environmental act?

Is buying one of the latest Apple watches an environmental act?

Apple made the announcement with much fanfare: some Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 watches are “carbon neutral.” Behind the term is a promise: No global warming effect upon purchase, and even afterward. What makes it an “ecological” business? Not sure about that.

The so-called “carbon neutral” Apple Watch. // Source: Apple

Are you trying to bribe me with Apple gadgets? Mother Nature asked Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental affairs. A phrase uttered during Apple’s keynote, where we discovered the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 as well as the Apple Watch Ultra 2. And that’s how many felt: Apple makes… GreenwashingLike all technology companies. However, its promises are bigger than others: some of Apple’s new watches will be ” Carbon emissions In other words, it will have no impact on global warming. So: a publicity stunt or real environmental progress?

Not all Apple Watches are affected

The three models affected by carbon neutrality are the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and Apple Watch SE (2022). The first two were announced during the keynote on September 12. But not all versions of these three connected watches are carbon neutral:

  • Apple Watch Series 9:
    • Only the aluminum case is affected, unlike the stainless steel case;
    • As for the bracelet, only the fabric is considered carbon neutral, unlike the rubber strap and stainless steel bracelet;
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2: Ocean band not included, but Alpine loop and Track loop are included.
  • Apple Watch SE (2022): Apple made this watch carbon neutral, but only with a fabric strap.
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Carbon emissions »: Apple brand of environmentally friendly products

The announcement of these new watches is also an opportunity for Apple to introduce a brand: “ Carbon emissions “.It is plastered on Apple’s so-called carbon neutral products.

Apple has made a strong commitment: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Which means the company should not produce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after this deadline. Of course, this would not be possible: the company would have to offset its emissions in several ways.

Green logo for “carbon neutral” products // Source: Frandroid

By 2030, carbon neutral products are expected to become widespread. They can be identified by the green marking representing the petals of the flower. Right now, there are only the three newest watches from Apple. As for ISO 14021 (which Apple says it follows) and the January 1, 2023 Climate and Resilience Code, Apple is legal. In theory, declaring a product as carbon neutral is illegal unless certain provisions are in place. The brand must publish a report on the greenhouse gas emissions of the product in question, over its entire life cycle, which ones are avoided, but also which ones are offset (and how).

Apple watches Carbon emissions »: Pure greenwashing by Apple?

Apple remains a private company: its primary interest is making profits. Behind Apple’s environmental ambitions, we can believe there is an economic interest. By setting the prices of its products, Apple targets customers who have the financial means to worry about global warming. There may be some part of it Greenwashing From Apple in its communications.

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Apple’s website dedicated to its environmental goals // Source: Frandroid

On the other hand, as evidenced by the company’s 2023 environmental report, concrete actions have been taken. Apple says it takes into account production, transportation, and usage (for three years) as well as the handling of end-of-life products when measuring the carbon footprint of Apple Watches.

This includes the use of renewable energies in the buildings of Apple and its subcontractors, the increasingly use of recycled components, etc. We also include the purchase of carbon credits, making it possible to finance greenhouse gas elimination projects. Finally, there is tree planting, which allows carbon dioxide to be captured, although this method is questioned by environmental associations. All these means allowed Apple to join the Carbon Neutral brand.

In terms of product lifespan, Apple has been recognized for many years for its efforts, especially in software monitoring. However, further efforts still need to be made, especially regarding repairability: the cost of repairs, and access to spare parts. Buying a connected watch from Apple may be more environmentally friendly than buying a watch from another manufacturer.

Are Apple Watches environmentally friendly?

Finally, we must remember the difference between environmentalism and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalism includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce global warming, but not only that. It is also about preserving ecosystems and fighting pollution. However, not all metals in Apple Watches can be recycled, even though they are carbon neutral. It’s undeniable that Apple Watches produce waste.

While they may be carbon neutral (although the offset method can be criticized), Apple’s smartwatches are not environmentally friendly and never could be. Moreover, this is not what Apple advertises: the trademark specifies “ Just » These products are carbon neutral. It’s basic to say, but the most environmentally friendly Apple Watch is still the one you don’t buy.

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